Saina Nehwal has been cruising comfortably at the Maybank Malaysian BWF World Super-series Badminton Tournament currently underway in Kuala Lumpur. To the disappointment of Indian badminton fans, however, men’s challenge has ended with Parupalli Kashyap and Kidambi Srikanth crashing out early. The Malaysian tournament is the third super-series event after All-England and New-Delhi in a circuit of 12 such tournaments under Metlife BWF World Superseries, which attract the top 32 world ranked players in men and women’s singles and men’s, women’s and mixed doubles. After 12 legs are completed, best of the best’s top 8 in each category will compete in the season finale at BWF Destination Dubai World Superseries Finals. The BWF World Superseries, which began in 2007, has acquired an enhanced status and the matches generate significant global viewership. Spread across Sydney to Copenhagen, the super-series events are full of star quality players on international badminton circuit, who compete for ranking points towards their Destination Dubai Rankings.
The Putra Indoor Stadium in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur has been a bee-hive of terrific badminton action over the last 4 days since Maybank Malaysia Open 2015 Superseries Premier got underway on March 31, 2015. Though the locals have been ruing the absence of their former superstar Lee Chong Wei, many others have made the event quite exciting. Chong Wei won the men’s singles title for an unprecedented period of 10 consecutive years until 2014 but he is currently serving a suspension for a doping violation during the World Championships in Copenhagen last August. He is still waiting for the BWF to fix a date for his hearing.
Lin Dan and Cheng Long are vying for men’s singles title this year and they are already in the quarterfinals along with Jan O Jorgensen, Kento Momota, Xue Song, Wang Zhengming, Tian Houwei and Wei Nan. India’s Parupalli Kashyap was defeated by no.1 seed Chen Long in the second round 21-15, 11-21, 21-15; HS Prannoy lost to no.5 seed Lin Dan 20-22, 18-21 and Kidambi Srikanth went down against Tan Houwei 14-21, 18-21.
Among women, newly crowned world no.1 Saina Nehwal is seeded no.3 in Malaysia but she has won both her matches quite easily. For a place in the semifinal, Saina will have to get past China’s Sun Yu on Friday. Two Chinese quarterfinalists are; no.1 seed Li Xuerui and no.5 seed Wang Yihan and these two play each other for the semifinal spot. For the third semifinal berth, no.6 seed Carolina Marin will play against Hong Kong’s Cheung Ngan. Japanese rising star Nozomi Okuhara defeated no.8 seed Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand 21-12, 21-11 and for the fourth semifinal spot, Okuhara will take on China’s no.2 seed Wang Shixian.
Malaysians Vivian Hoo -Woon Khe Wei and Amelia Alicia Anscelly-Soong Fie Cho have brought cheers for local supporters by reaching the QF after beating Indonesian combo of Anggia Shitta Awanda and Mahadewi Istirani Ni Ketut 21-9, 18-21, 21-18. They now meet China’s no.8 seeds Huan Xia/Tian Qing for the SF berth. For the second semifinal, Thai women Eefje Muskens/Selena Piek will play against Korea’s Chang Ye Na/Jung Kyung Eun. The third quarterfinal game will be played between China’s no.3 seeds Luo Ying/Lou Yu and Indonesians Nitya Krishinda Maheswari/Greysia Polii and 4th between Germany’s Isabel Herttrich/Birgit Michils and Chinese pair of Ou Dongni/Xiaohan Yu.
In men’s doubles quarterfinals; Korean top seeds Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeon Seong will take on no.7 seeds Liu Xiaolong/Qiu Zihan; Taepei’s no.3 seeds Lee Sheng Mu/ Tsai Chia Shin play no.6 seeds Chinese Chai Biao/Hong Wei; Japan’s no.5 seeds Hiroyuki Endo/Kenichi Hayakawa meet Indonesia’s Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Settiawan and in the last quarterfinal another Indonesian pair Angga Pratama/Ricky Karanda Suwadi will take on Denmark’s no.2 seeds Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen.
In mixed doubles, second seeds Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen had a tough time against China’s young pair Lu Kai/Huang Yaqiong, when they trailed 8-14 in the decider. But the Danes bounced back to win at 21-15 15-21 21-19 to set up a quarterfinal clash with China’s Liu Cheng/ Bao Yixin. The other pairs in the quarterfinals are China’s no.1 and no.3 seeds Zhang Nan/Zhao Yunlei and Xu Chen/Ma Jin; Indonesia’s no.4 seeds Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir and Korea’s no.6 seeds Ko Sung Hyun/Kim Ha Na.